Meshfree based multiscale numerical modelling of cellular level deformations of plant food materials during drying

NRC Grant:  15-116

Dr. H.C.P. Karunasena
University of Ruhuna
Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
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Area of Research:Numerical Modelling with Meshfree Methods



• During drying of a plant food tissue, how to mathematically relate microscale deformations to macroscale deformations

• How to incorporate meshfree formulation in to the macroscale model

• How to evaluate and optimise the consistency of the coupling of microscale and macroscale deformations


In order to optimise the product quality and processing efficiency of plant food material during drying, demands comprehensive multiscale fundamental understanding to scientifically address the issues existing in the industry. The proposed model of this research intends to incorporate cellular level mechanisms to derive how the bulk level deformations of the plant food tissues will behave during drying. For this task, Meshfree based numerical modelling technique will be used, other than conventional grid-based modelling techniques, which have been identified as not being very applicable in these type of models. The principle investigator has the state of the art expertise in Meshfree based tissue modelling, particularly in the cellular level, based on his recently completed doctoral studies. This project intends to extend the current knowledge-front into the next level by developing a multiscale model by incorporating Meshfree methods and it is expected that this research will contribute to the fundamental understanding in the field so as practical application in food drying industry. It also has many advantages in the Sri Lankan context, since minimising the wastage at processing and transportation fresh fruits and vegetables have become a burning issue.

The project is basically dedicated to develop a numerical model, where an extensive level of mathematical modelling and simulation will have to be conducted. Therefore, a fulltime Mphil student has to be involved in the project who has to have a sound engineering and mathematics background. The candidate will be supervised by the principle investigator, who has sufficient theoretical and practical expertise in the field of numerical modelling based on his recently completed doctoral studies. He is an expertise in the field with about 15 publications within the last 3 years, 8 including international journal publications, an dother papers and presentations in international forums in USA and Australia. The co-supervisor has a strong track record for postgraduate supervision and technical expertise in fluid dynamics, which will very much assist the successful conduct of this project, ensuring the intended outcomes.

The project involves an extensive amount of computer simulations. Due to the utter shortage of such facilities in Sri Lanka, the investigators are planning to use the High Performance Computing (HPC) of Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia for this, where the principle investigator currently has gain the official access to such resources through a Visiting Fellowship. Also, the Fellowship allows access to required research publication databases, which will allow effectively conducting a thorough literature review during the initial phase of the project. However, for the effective conduct of the project, it requires some secondary level of computing facilities available locally in Sri Lanka, in order to post process, visualise and analyse the results, which is difficulty to be performed with the existing general purpose computer facilities of the Sri Lankan host institute – University of Ruhuna. Therefore, this proposal seeks finding for such a basic high performance computer facility so as the stipend of the Mphil student and the cost for publications and conference attendance. The successful completion of this project will deliver a Mphil, a number of international publications and will eventually bring credit to Sri Lanka for the knowledge front in this field of research, were there is an increasing interest in the international community.